January 27, 2023

Zolls Show

Show The Baby

Tunde Kelani – A Legend in Nollywood

He was born in Lagos state, but grew up in Abeokuta, Ogun state. He came from a poor home and at the age of five he was sent to their family compound at Abeokuta where he grew up with his paternal Grand father “The Balogun of Ijaiye” at that time. He attended Okeona United primary school and Abeokuta Grammar school. He was a beneficiary of the free primary education propelled by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. and also a UAC scholarship. He grew up in an environment where he haunted in the bush, caught crabs and fish from the streams, and ate fruits. There was tolerance in the community where he grew up despite the religious differences. He took part in all the festivals and grew up with the Yoruba culture.

The only thing that kept him company were literary books and he found almost everything he needed in D.O.Fagunwa’s “The Hunter saga”, having also read “Forest of a thousand demons” by the same author. The “Yoruba Travelling Theatre” thrived during that period and he watched the original cast of the “Palmwine drinkard” at Orisesan Hall in Ibadan. He believes that adopting a foreign language and culture puts you at a disadvantage since you can’t be better in another person’s language. He attended the London Film school between 1976 and 1978 where he learnt the “Art and Technique of Film making”.

Having returned from London he wanted to produce an adaptation of Adebayo Faliti’s “Father Michael’s dilemma” and therefore partnered with the author with a budget of N85,000. The money was raised but the movie failed to make the desired impact. He remained undeterred and forged on ahead to produce more movies which subsequently culminated in to hit movies. He worked on various projects with late Herbert Ogunde, Ola Balogun, and Bruce Beresford who directed “Mister Johnson”, (which was partly shot in Nigeria). He operates a Mobile cinema project in partnership with Unicef and runs Mainframe productions which he founded in 1992. The company operates to document our oral traditions via movies before it disappears forever in the face of modern adversity.

He was once in Holland and in an interview he was asked to select from six things ranging from books, videos to music and others, something that he thought was really exceptional. He chose Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s opera “Jesus Christ super star” because he couldn’t get it out of his head how some people could tell the story of the last seven days of Jesus Christ on earth in an opera which comprised of all the musical genre.

He has produced commercials (First bank, Bagco super sack, Equitorial trust bank, Amstel malta, lotus body cream, sunola, satis, walls ice cream and a lot more), documentaries on festivals (Mbaise new yam festival, the Kano Durbar, Okosi festival, Olojo festival, Argungu festival). He has certainly carved a niche for himself and has become a household name. When i once asked him what advice he had for “want to be celebrities” in acting, directing and other spheres of movie production he simply said

“Just stay true to your dreams once you’ve decided that is what you want to do in life. Make sure you have a good education and you have passion and desperation for what you want to do. Forget the glamour, it’s going to be a lot of hard work. Only the most desperate will be successful. acquire skills, remain focused. Let your passion and dedication drive you.”

He’s been involved in various movie productions as the cinematographer/director such as: Ireke onibudo, Efunsetan, Vigilanter, Iya ni wura, Ogun Ajaye, Mosebolatan, kannakanna, Eri okan, Ti oluwa nile, Ayo ni mo fe, koseegbe, Oleku, A place called home, The White handkerchief, Twins of the rain forest, Saworoide, Thunderbolt, A barber’s wisdom, Agogoeewo, The Campus queen, The Narrow path, Abeni, Arugba.